The Housing Industry Is the Problem!

March 15th, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

The spectacle of Barack Obama and his minions trying to come up with new ways to squander money that we don’t have on things that we don’t need is almost laughable. I say almost because it’s a great American Tragedy with the answer staring these people right in the face. It’s the Housing Industry, stupid! The Housing Industry contributes between 17 and 18% of the Gross Domestic Product, a staggering percentage that has been allowed to languish.

Let’s recap a bit. On October 3, 2008 President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Its original intent was the purchase assets and equity from financial institutions in order to help alleviate the worst of the subprime mortgage crisis and assist the Housing Industry. The bill’s intention was to rehabilitate assets held by banks that were no longer viable. Instead, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson used TARP to strengthen institutions within the financial sector whether they wanted or needed the help. It appears that Henry Paulson threats were made to financial institutions who neither wanted to participate nor were interested in taking over other trouble financial institutions. According to a talking points memo obtained by Judicial Watch: “If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your (FDIC) regulator will require it in any circumstance.” From a bill whose intention was to help the mortgage sector it became a bill whose main goal appeared to be to help “Wall Street” rather than “Main Street”.

Now, I don’t disagree with helping American financial institutions but the main lesson that the American people learned was that if you were “too big to fail” you would be assisted by the federal government, “bailed out” and saved. Interestingly, Lehman Bros., an archrival of Paulson’s former company Goldman Sachs, was allowed to slip into bankruptcy. We still don’t have an adequate explanation for that action. Meanwhile, non-financial institutions were allowed to convert themselves into banks in order to qualify for TARP assistance. The TARP program spawned a number of controversies that do not come within the purview of this post.

Those are just the preliminaries. The TARP bills original intention was to correct the problem in the housing industry by straightening out the mortgage crisis. That was a miserable failure. Today, almost three years later the American housing industry is in a shambles. New home construction is a disaster. Unless you are willing to sell your family’s principal asset for well-below market value your house will sit on the market well beyond a reasonable period. Banks are foreclosing on homes and then sitting on them because they won’t loan money on a reasonable basis. Everything that the politicians thought would be corrected by TARP has remained and even gotten worse.

The Housing industry is one of the main drivers of the U.S. economy. The new home construction side of the industry impacts a number of sectors and labor markets. Think about what makes up a new home. First we have architects and engineers. Then we have the Home Building foundation components: concrete, stone, steel and the workers who do these jobs. Then we have the wood framing which provides work for timber companies, sawmills, trucking firms, distributors, all of the workers and carpenters to build the frame. Some houses have brick exteriors which provides work for the brick makers and the masons who lay the brick; not to forget the truckers and distributors of said bricks. Roofing materials, siding, paint, wallboard, wall coverings, hardware and the workers who do these jobs are next. Then we have more skilled tradesmen and the items that they install: plumbers, electricians, plumbing fixtures, electrical hardware, lighting fixtures and water systems. The durable goods industry has been hit hard. People are not buying washing machines, stoves, refrigerators and the like. So workers are making them, truckers aren’t trucking them and distributors aren’t selling them.

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